CDC Identifies Rare Bacteria in Aromatherapy Product
CDC issued a Health Alert Network notice after laboratory testing identified a rare bacteria, Burkholderia pseudomallei, in an aromatherapy spray. The spray was recently found in the home of an individual from Georgia who became ill with melioidosis in July. The same bacteria sickened four people — one each in Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Minnesota — earlier this year. Testing is ongoing to determine if the bacteria's genetic fingerprint in the bottle matches those of the bacteria found in the four patients, two of whom died. The contaminated spray was sold at about 55 Walmart stores and on Walmart's website between February and October 21, 2021. Walmart and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have issued a recall for the "Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones" and five other scents in the product line. Researchers are still working to determine whether other related scents and brands may pose a risk. For individuals who have this aromatherapy spray in their homes, CDC recommends they discontinue use immediately and return the product — enclosed in a zip-top bag and placed in a cardboard box — to Walmart. Sheets or linens the product may have been sprayed on should be thoroughly washed and dried, and counters and surfaces that may have been sprayed with the product should be disinfected. People who have used the spray within the past 21 days and have a fever or other symptoms of melioidosis should seek medical care and tell their health care provider they were exposed to the spray. Individuals who do not have symptoms but were exposed to the spray in the past week may be recommended to receive post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent infection.
Read more on the CDC News Release.